Evolving Halal Certification Trends
Halal certification trends for the U.S. food market are rising with the global tide. With a population less (estimated by some at 9 million) than most Western countries where Muslims are minorities (10% of France’s total population), American Muslims enjoy a significant higher net income of around $200 billion per annum . An indicator of this burgeoning market segment occurred when Saffron Road Food products (a line of frozen halal prepared meals launched in August 2010) sold out in a number of whole Foods’ stores during the first month of distribution.
True, the trend for food products to receive halal certification for global trade rose particularly during the 1990s in the face of increasing government and ministry regulation of halal throughout Muslim nations. Yet an equally important factor contributing to this trend has been the streamlined ease of obtaining halal certification in an efficient manner. With the growing demand of halal certified products fueled by an increasingly globalizing food industry, halal certification agencies have also evolved to meet these changing needs.
As many food manufacturers are looking to build loyal and lasting relationships with third-party certifiers, understanding how to obtain halal certification (both the process as well as the technology) can reduce both expense and unnecessary delays for any company seeking to develop halal products.
Previously, most halal certification organizations followed a certification procedure that was both cumbersome and inefficient. For instance a company seeking halal needed to submit an application, product information, component information, and ingredient supporting documentation (such as a halal questionnaire or specification sheet). To add a new product line to an existing halal product range, the company also needed submit supplementary production flow charts.
This process would often cause the halal-seeking client to become the information middleman - where it obtained specific ingredient information from each supplier and provided it to the third-party certifier. The back and forth between ingredient manufacturer and third-party supplier stemmed significant delays in obtaining halal certification in a timely fashion.
For most new companies, halal certification is often treated as a knee-jerk reaction when faced with global export regulations. In such cases, companies begin the certification process in a severe rush and really cannot afford to make a process of a few days turn into weeks while they scramble to locate all the pertinent ingredient source information.
The new halal standards are significantly less burdensome at the critical time of product additions and reduce any possible error in compliance by the company and certifying authority. Companies now provide most of the proper documentation up-front during the time of the initial company registration. This documentation is a Raw Material List -- a list of the all the ingredients and processing aids used in the facility seeking to produce halal products.
This Raw Material List is updated by the agency to generate a Schedule B. A Schedule B is the list of ingredients and processing aids in the facility with the proper halal classification assigned to each ingredient. The Schedule B is updated periodically from the company plant manager, or anytime there is a change in ingredient or its supplier. The Schedule B then plays an essential component when the already registered company submits new products for certification. The new product components are cross-checked with the Schedule B to ensure the product conforms to halal code.
The new halal certification procedure requires a halal-seeking company to provide very little additional documentation beyond its first documentation submission. It has especially evolved as a natural solution to reduce the back and forth flow of information, expedite the certification process, and meeting to assure halal compliance without the compromise of any of its third-party review standards.
Old Halal Standard Model
- New Products submitted for registered Company
- Ingredient information reviewed and supporting documents requested
- Documents received after company seeks ingredient supplier/ manufacturer possibly additional documents requested
- All documents received; products reviewed and approved
- Halal certificate issued
New Halal Standard Model
- New products submitted for registered company
- Ingredients cross-checked with Schedule B
- Halal certificate issued
This new halal certification procedure reflects the halal industry’s exponential growth in the past few years. It also reflects that both companies and halal consumers alike are searching not only for halal foods but also for reputable halal certification from amongst the various agencies. As companies continue to expand into global markets they can also expect evolving halal standards that seek to make their products more reputable, safe, and most of all acceptable amongst all consumers.
1. "Halal Food Market: A Multi-Million Global Opportunity" (http://www.ameinfo.com/110111.html) -- AMEinfo.com
2. Adnan Durrani, Food and Beverage Industry Specialist & CEO of American Halal Company (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkVmsXbZZgM) -- American Muslim Consumer Conference 2011
3. "Our Mission is to Improve the Sacredness of Food" (http://www.halaljournal.com/article/5509/aeour-mission-is-to-restore-the-sacredness-of-foodae) -- Halal Journal
From the April 4, 2011, Prepared Foods E-dition